Changes to the Teachers’ Pensions Online Service

Teachers' Pensions Online - Childrens Barred List (List 99 check) - Criminal Record Checks

On 1 April 2021, the government changed access to the Teachers’ Pensions Online Service. Credence advises all users that the current Teachers’ Pensions Online (TP Online) Service has ceased to operate from 31 March 2021 and been transferred to the Department for Education (DfE).

Employers outside of educational settings no longer meet the legal requirements to check the children’s barred list status of applicants for jobs in schools, colleges and universities. This includes background screening companies, as well as recruitment, supply and HR agencies.

Prior to the 1st of April, third parties such as Credence could carry out “List 99” barred list checks on behalf of schools. This was common in situations where an applicant needed to start work quickly, such as a supply teacher, and did not have the time to wait for a DBS disclosure. However, access to the new DfE service is limited strictly to employers in educational organisations.

In a letter to the DfE, the Chair of the Criminal Records Trade Body (CRTB), Keith Rosser, wrote: “The committee of the Criminal Records Trade Body (CRTB) conducted in excess of 25,000 TP Online checks on permanent staff on behalf of educational organisations in the last 12 months. The full numbers for all CRTB members is likely to be in the region of 40,000, over 10% of all permanent teachers in England and Wales. Our analysis shows the majority of organisations using CRTB members are unaware of the change and will only find out once they attempt to process a check, if indeed they do find out. “

Schools, colleges and universities must take care to heed these changes as they are now responsible for ensuring staff comply with all the appropriate regulation. The Department for Education wrote:

“Schools and Colleges directly employing staff must carry out pre appointment checks which includes an enhanced plus barred list check, for individuals engaging in regulated activity. However, where the individual has been previously employed in a school or college in England, in a post, which brought them into regular contact with children and ended not more than three months before the person’s appointment, the school or college only need carry out a barred list check.

The replacement system for TP Online has been set up in line with safer recruitment regulations as they apply to schools and colleges. The new arrangements mean that third parties will no longer have access to the standalone barred list checking service. Third parties will still be required to undertake an enhanced DBS check with barred list information or use the DBS update service to determine whether a person is barred.”